Whenever a highly anticipated video game is about to release, people are always desperate to find out as much information about the game as possible. Whether it's through certain connections or any other method(s), some players manage to get an early copy and start leaking details. However, in most situations, such actions go unpunished (aside from getting shut down and having the leaked videos removed). This time though, a publisher decided to crack down on an individual who managed to get an early copy of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding and boot up the game before its official release date.
The incident occurred in Russia when an employee of an electronics retailer called M. Video allegedly took a copy of Death Stranding and went home to test out the game. Upon loading it up, Sony was alerted and launched an investigation into the matter. Ultimately, the publisher identified the employee through his PSN account and linked the account to his workplace. As a result, M. Video was fined one million rubles ($15,657) for the employee's actions.
The case first appeared on social media when a user posted a screenshot of a memo signed by Natalya Zavyalova, M. Video's sales development manager. According to the memo, the employee was fired for his actions and M. Video suffered reputational damage along with the fine. As a result, Zavyalova urged all other stores to lock up their copies of Death Stranding in safes until the release date.
As stated before, official release dates are always broken and people find a way to get an early copy. Publishers almost never take such drastic steps and don't launch investigations, although this time it was different. Some might argue that Sony wanted to protect Death Stranding as much as possible in an attempt to avoid spoilers hitting the internet before the release date. Before Hideo Kojima's game came out, fans got nothing but mysterious and cryptic trailers, which could mean that Sony wanted its players to discover the story by themselves rather than rely on leaks.